A neo-colonial education: querying its role in immigrant identity, inclusion and empowerment

Reshmi Lahiri-Roy, Nish Belford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article problematises the neo-colonial legacies of Westernised education in the experiences of empowerment, disempowerment and identity negotiations of two immigrant academic women often positioned as ‘elite’ transnationals in Australia. Through positioning theory and postcolonial theory as frameworks, critical autoethnography as a research method shapes our personal accounts within two postcolonial contexts (India and Mauritius). We explore the tensions and dualities of race, class, ethnicity and gender engendered through an anglicised education. Our empowerment manifests as privilege and access to knowledge and opportunities for transnational mobility. We unpack the gradual erosion of our cultural rootedness and a renegotiation of our migrant identities entailing both submissiveness and resistance. Situating education as a force in our lives, we query whether it is an ‘empowerment tool’ concomitantly creating and deleting elements of our cultural history OR reclaiming the paradoxes of privilege and ‘disempowerment’ shaped by a neo-colonial education?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Mar 2021


  • Critical autoethnography; empowerment; neo-colonial education; migrant identities; inclusion; postcolonial theory; positioning theory.
  • Empowerment
  • neo-colonial education
  • migrant identities
  • inclusion
  • postcolonial theory
  • positioning theory

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